Fostering student motivation is an aspect of teaching that is difficult but necessary. Even the best books, materials and lessons won’t teach the students anything if they lack the motivation to learn in the first place.
Of course, all students are motivated differently. It can take time to get the whole class to feel enthusiastic about learning but the rewards are more than worth it. A motivated class is fun for both the teacher and the students alike.
Whether you’re an experienced teacher or someone just starting out, here are some ways you can improve student motivation in the classroom.
Give students a sense of control
Although it is important for the teacher to guide the students and make sure to keep them on track, giving students the freedom and control to decide what happens in the classroom is one way of keeping them engaged. For instance, you can let them decide what type of assignment they can do or which problems they can work on.
Relay the learning objectives clearly
Students often find it frustrating to finish an assignment or behave in class if they are unsure what the objectives are supposed to be. If they don’t know what’s expected of them, it can be hard for them to stay motivated. Make sure to be clear about the objectives, rules, and expectations right when the school year starts so the students have goals they can work toward.
Create a supportive environment
Approval and positive reinforcement are two things that students often look to teachers for. If they feel that their work is recognized and valued, they become enthusiastic to do even better for the next task.
Open communication and free thinking should also be encouraged to make the students feel that they’re important and that have value in the classroom. Be enthusiastic. Don’t hesitate to praise your students when they earn it. Even something as short as “good job” or “nice work” can go a long way. A friendly environment where students feel heard and respected will make them more eager to learn.
You can even put up an inspirational poster in the classroom so the students can feel motivated even when you’re not around. There are multiple tools online that you can use to customize your poster, such as PosterMyWall.
Get them involved
Get your students involved in the classroom. Give each student a job to do and make participating fun. You can give them responsibilities such as assigning who tidies up the classroom, who erases the blackboard, who passes out materials, etc.
You can also give them tasks during class, such as letting them take turns reading sections of the learning material out loud or grouping them and assigning each of them a task or role. These responsibilities will make them feel accomplished and motivate them to actively participate in class.
Provide your students with a change of scenery
It can get dull to be sitting at a desk every day until the school year ends. If you want your students to be interested in learning again, allow them to get out of the classroom. Go on field trips or visit the library to do research. Novelty and a new setting may be just what the students need to feel enthusiastic about classes again.
When you set expectations and make reasonable demands, it can motivate students to participate, but not all the time. Sometimes, they still need that extra push to get them to take action. Incentives are one of the best ways you can make learning fun and encourage students to push themselves.
These rewards can range from something as small as giving the highest-scoring student a special privilege or something as big as treating the whole class to a pizza party if there is a significant increase in their average test score. Rewards make the students feel accomplished and motivate them to work towards a goal.
Try to avoid monotony in your classroom and change the structure of your class every now and then. Instead of lectures, you can play games or have discussions. Encourage the students to debate. Use visual aids such as colorful diagrams, charts and videos to enrich your subject matter. A movie that tackles the topic or theme you’re discussing can help make it fun to learn about too.
Don’t let your classroom be boring. Decorate it with models, posters, student projects, etc. You can even use PosterMyWall to customize the classroom schedule pasted on your wall and make it attractive to look at so the students never forget their classes. A warm and stimulating environment can go a long way in making the students love learning again.
Motivation is an important factor in the success of students, regardless of which stage of education they’re at. However, motivating your students is a lot easier said than done. But with the tips listed above, hopefully, you can encourage your students to live up to their true potential.